How to Activate and Support Intrapreneurs
Today there is a huge potential within companies to make the shift toward a sustainable triple bottom-line happen, but this potential is wasted when the people behind it are not able to bring their ideas and innovations to life in their corporate system. Activating those talented individuals and their innovation can accelerate the companies on their journey toward the triple bottom-line -and that’s just what the Pivot Fellowship is doing.
Talented individuals with an innovative idea in a corporate system, let’s call them intrapreneurs as it is what they are, are facing a lot of challenges to develop their ideas and make them evolve within the system. Whether it is to increase the inclusiveness of the workplace for people having less power in society (e.g. gender or multiracial diversity), or to improve the environmental impact of the products in the value-chain of the company, intrapreneurs have to navigate within their company to make their innovations sustainable on the long-term. They need a variety of skills and attitudes, and the League of Intrapreneurs have done an incredible job at summarizing these in five distinct categories. It was an exciting exercise to adapt those categories to the specific context of the Canadian engineering industry and build on the 13 years of experience of Engineers Without Borders Canada in the fields of leadership development, systemic innovation and social entrepreneurship to design this program.
The first edition of the program, for which applications are open until April 25th, will activate 8 to 12 intrapreneurs or ready-to-be intrapreneurs to accelerate their innovation through two 4-day retreats and continuous coaching, mentoring and peer-support over the 8 months of the program. From May to January, the Pivot Fellows will go through a lot of steps and iterations to bring their company closer to the triple bottom-line: analyze market needs, map out the industry, prototype action, fail, learn, rally co-workers, practice and role-model new habits and behaviors, connect with internal and external partners,...
Interestingly, while the program focuses on supporting one or two individuals per company, there is an important potential for the work of the intrapreneurs to be promoted and communicated within each organization to inspire other employees and foster a true culture of innovation in the workplace. It can also reinforce the trust of employees in the will and potential of their company to be role-model global citizens in the industry, at the cutting-edge of sustainability practices, resulting in increased employee retention and an enhanced corporate image.
It is really exciting to be part of the current momentum of the many corporate efforts to decrease global vulnerability, and to have the opportunity to support leading engineering companies to be part of this movement is thrilling. While the Pivot Fellowship is tailored for the Canadian engineering industry, I am looking forward to connecting with anyone from across the world interested in supporting or participating in the program, or to dive deeper into its details (partly available on pivot.ewb.ca) and explore the thinking and assumptions behind it.